Supported By ACE

The Africa Centre for Evidence (ACE) at the University of Johannesburg

Working together to make evidence-informed decision-making a reality in Africa

Led by Prof Ruth Stewart, our vision is to reduce poverty and inequality in our region by increasing the production and application of research evidence that is both useful and used. We are an international multi-disciplinary team working across the continent. We have a track record for high quality collaborative work with strong partnerships with governments, universities and NGOs. One of our key areas of work is to provide the secretariat for the Africa Evidence Network, via our team below. You can read more about our work here.

Our support to the Africa Evidence Network began on a voluntary basis in 2012. Between 2014 and 2016 it was funded under the umbrella of our University of Johannesburg-based programme to build capacity to use research evidence (UJ-BCURE). Funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), UJ-BCURE worked with a network of partners from across Africa, including the South African Cochrane Centre, the Centre for Evidence-Based Health Care at the University of Stellenbosch, the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), the EPPI-Centre and many others. Our goal was to increase the use of evidence in decision-making in the governments of Malawi and South Africa. You can read more about that work via our ACE website. Currently the AEN is funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.


AEN Team

Ruth Stewart, Chairperson of the Africa Evidence Network

Prof Ruth Stewart is  Director of the University of Johannesburg’s Africa Centre for Evidence and chairperson of the Africa Evidence Network. Having grown up in Malawi, she has been working in South Africa since 1998. She has a background in social sciences, and has worked across academia and government. Her work includes the production of evidence for decision-makers, as well as supporting civil servants to access and make sense of research.

Siziwe Ngcwabe, Africa Evidence Network Senior Manager

Siziwe Ngcwabe qualified as social worker in 1996 and subsequently acquired a diploma in Human Resources Management through Allenby in Home study in 1999, Advanced Certificate in Health Management (ACHM) at FPD in 2009, Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management (PGDBM) MANCOSA in 2014, Master’s degree in Public Management (MPM) at Regenesys Business School in 2014.

In 1997-2000 she worked as a social worker with SANCA in Carletonville and during this period she volunteered for a number of community based organisations to expand my knowledge and expertise. In 2001-2007 she was tasked by Heartbeat Centre for Community Development to establish and develop an Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Program in Carletonville. During her stay at Heartbeat she held a number of positions (Community Development Facilitator, Operations Manager Capacity building and psycho-social support). In 2007-2014 she worked for Foundation for Professional Development (FPD) Organisational Development coordinator and during her stay she held a number of positions (Community Development Advisor, Organisational Development Specialist and Head of Department (HOD) Gender Based Violence (GBV). In 2014 to 2017 she worked as Technical Advisor: Isibindi programme for FHI 360 (seconded to the National Department of Social Development). She’s currently a senior manager at the Africa Evidence Network (AEN) at the University of Johannesburg. She is an experienced social worker and project manager, with 21 years of experience doing work for non-governmental organisations, commercial companies, international donors and government.

Precious Motha, Africa Evidence Network Coordinator

Precious Motha is the coordinator for the Africa Evidence Network (AEN), which is a network of researchers, practitioners, policy makers and everyone with an interest in evidence-informed decision making. She has extensive experience in digital communication, website content management, marketing, public relations, events management and social media. She holds a BA in Psychology and a BA Hons in Industrial Sociology, both from the University of Johannesburg, as well as a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from Wits Business School.

Yvonne Erasmus

Yvonne Erasmus (PhD, Univ of London)  is an experienced project manager and researcher, with experience of doing work for universities, commercial companies, international donors and government. Her academic background in is political sciences and development studies and she is particularly interested in inter-disciplinary work and how research can be used to bring about social change.

Christa Heyneke

Christa Heyneke holds the position of Centre Administrator for the Africa Centre for Evidence. She’s responsible for amongst other numerous things, the administrative tasks of the unit, including managing bookings for video conferences, group telephone conferences, launches, travel bookings and team building. Christa’s passionate about painting and spends a lot of her spare time in creating oil paintings.

Desyree Lotter

Desyree Lotter
Desyree is an experienced project manager having worked in the NGO sector for more than a decade. Her experience spans East and Southern Africa as well as having worked for NGOs and donor funders in Europe. Her academic background is in business studies and human rights studies, having completed a MBA and MA Human Rights. Desyree is particularly interested in interdisciplinary work/studies related to the relationship between human and environmental rights; and how this relationship influences changes within society.

Laurenz Langer

Laurenz Langer  combines  years of development work in Southern Africa with a degree in Development Studies from the University of Johannesburg. With a passion for evidence-informed development, he has worked on a number of international development reviews and currently is a doctoral candidate at the University of London. His research interest focuses on Development Effectiveness and mixed-methods research synthesis

Natalie Tannous

Natalie Tannous has a Masters degree in Environmental Anthropology, with an undergraduate background in Journalism from the University of Johannesburg. She has worked in evidence synthesis on different development reviews since 2012. Her interests lie specifically in environmental issues and how these relate to various aspects of society.